The Best Cheap Sunscreens for Your Money in 2022

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With vacation season getting underway, it’s a good time to start thinking about buying some new sunscreen. But which ones provide the best value?

Consumer Reports recently tested sunscreens, and its ratings show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get great protection from the sun.

What Are the Best Sunscreens for Your Money?

In this article, I’ll look at some of the best sunscreens according to Consumer Reports’ ratings. Most of these sunscreens will run you between $4 and $10 per bottle.

Consumer Reports assigned an overall score on a 100-point scale to the top sunscreens based on several criteria including:

  • UVA (ultraviolet A waves) protection: level of protection against UVA radiation
  • SPF (sun protection factor): level of protection against rays that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer.
  • Variation from SPF: how closely Consumer Reports' tests for SPF protection matched the SPF rating on the product label

Here's a video that goes into detail about the Consumer Reports' sunscreen tests.

We’ll take a look first at lotions and then sprays. I’ve included links to the products and prices as of mid-May, 2022.

Best Cheap Sunscreens: Lotions

LotionsRetail PricePrice Per OunceScore
Equate (Walmart) Ultra Lotion SPF 50$5.34 (8 fluid ounces)66 cents per ounce68
Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50$4.48 (8 fluid ounces)56 cents per ounce61
Solimo Sport Lotion SPF 50$6.13 (8 fluid ounces)77 cents per ounce57

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Now let’s take a look at the best cheap sunscreens that are sprays.

Best Cheap Sunscreens: Sprays

SpraysRetail PricePrice Per OunceScore
Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+$5.99 (6 fluid ounces)$1 per ounce74
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50$9.48 (6 ounces)$1.58 per ounce72
Sun Bum Spray SPF 50$13.29 (6 ounces)$2.21 per ounce67
Australian Gold Ultimate Hydration Continuous Spray SPF 30$7.57 (6 ounces)$1.26 per ounce66
Equate (Walmart) Sport Spray SPF 50$4.48 (5.5 ounces)81 cents per ounce65

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Final Thoughts

Along with price points, you also may want to consider reef-safe options when it comes to sunscreens.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says that sunscreen is only one aspect of sun protection. According to the FDA, here are some other tips for staying safe from the sun.

  • Wrap up: Consider wearing long sleeves, pants and other protective clothing that covers the arms, chest and legs.
  • Protect your crown: Don some sunglasses and a hat to protect your head and face.
  • Get some shade: When the sun's heat is at its peak, seek shelter inside or in the shade.

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